If you don’t know the name Hayley Atwell yet, you likely will in a few weeks after her performance in Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger, where she’ll play the lovely (and feisty) Peggy Carter, a British agent battling Nazis in WWII, who becomes a love interest for super-solider Steve Rogers (Chris Evans).
Today, we have excerpts of an interview Atwell gave to Esquire where she talked about filming The First Avenger, the now-infamous shot of her feeling Chris Evans’ well-toned pectoral muscles, and even a bit on the Jimi Hendrix biopic, which has been fighting its way out of limbo for a number of years now.
Atwell has been something of a peripheral talent, bouncing through supporting roles in films about English society old and new, such as Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream, The Duchess, The Pillars of the Earth and Brideshead Revisted. Unless you’re a fan of those sorts of films, Atwell may come across as something of an unknown in your book.
As we’ve learned, though, the young actress certainly knows how to make a strong impression: When the Captain America: The First Avenger trailer first hit a few months back, one moment in particular definitely stuck out in a lot of viewers’ minds. That moment involved a scrawny and asthmatic Steve Rogers emerging from the super-soldier experiment looking like an Adonis, to which Peggy Carter reacts by…reaching up and copping herself a quick feel of some finely-crafted man-chest. Cue screams of delight and triumph from fangirls everywhere.
As Atwell tells Esquire, that man-boob moment was all her own doing:
When Chris Evans first took his shirt off on the set of Captain America, I just instinctively grabbed his man boob. They kept it in the film. So we did a couple of takes of me being really inappropriate with my hand on his pec for the duration of the scene.
A great equalizing moment for gender politics in film, or just a clever acting choice? Either way, we know one thing: we like this girl.
However, according to Hayley, there is something even more intimidating than Chris Evans’ rippling chest: the stone face of Tommy Lee Jones:
Tommy Lee Jones [who plays an American military officer in Captain America] is really scary. Because he’ll take his time answering a question. It feels like he’s ignored you. He does it long enough for you to feel completely humiliated. I said hello to him and then there was a long pause and then he said, “Do you like opera?” He’s got a very, very dry sense of humor.
Finally, Atwell claimed that the oft-stalled Jimi Hendrix biopic is indeed alive – with Andre 3000 of Outkast still presumably being considered for the starring role (as has long been rumored):
Next up is possibly a Jimi Hendrix biopic — an independent film with Andre 3000 from OutKast playing Jimi Hendrix. But I don’t know, really. The Atwell team is like, Let’s just wait and see…
Wait and see, indeed. By the time Captain America hits theaters, Atwell may be turning enough heads for her to pick and choose some bigger projects than what’s offered on the indie circuit (or supporting roles). In the meantime, if you want to hear her talk more about making The First Avenger or how her career is unfolding, head on over to Esquire for the full Hayley Atwell interview.
Captain America: The First Avenger will be in theaters on July 22, 2011.